By Francesca Lisbino
Do you want to give your K-2 students and kids amazing STEM projects? Helping the young minds of our future is one of the most important things that you can do. If you’re wondering about challenging and fun projects you can give to your students, worry no more. Here are 3 fascinating solar projects for your K-2 students.
This solar food cooker is a very fun way to bring more STEM into your students’ lives. All you have to do is get a pizza box and cut a hole in it. You then line the bottom of the pizza with black construction paper. Next, create a lid with aluminum foil at the top of the pizza box. Put chocolate and marshmallows in the pizza box. Set it outside in front of the sun and you can see as the chocolate will melt on top of the marshmallows.
By completing this project, you can teach your kids about heat, reflection and absorption. Heat is a form of energy, so with this project, you practice this concept as you transfer the sun’s heat for the solar oven. The shiny foil will show your kids the practice of reflection to reflect the sun’s light to heat up your oven. Finally, the oven will demonstrate the process of absorption, because the material absorbs the sun’s energy—instead of reflecting it—to cook your food.
A solar updraft tower can create electricity from low-temperature solar heat. When the sun shines on the structure, the heat of the sun gets trapped underneath. It then heats the air of the canopy, and since the hot air is less dense than the cold air, the structure rises. Because of this, the solar radiation has a constant updraft in the tower. The little wind turbines that are installed inside the tower convert the energy from the sun to move the blades of the propeller. This project is amazing and easy for your young students.
Next, you will roll black construction paper into a cone and tape the cone to make it stay. At the bottom of the cone, cut three equally distanced arches out. Cut out a propeller and bend the blades of the propellers about 45 degrees downwards. Then with some tape and a needle, attach the propeller into the top of the cone.
Place your structure outside when it is sunny and windy. Switch on a lamp right next to the solar updraft tower. Watch as your propeller starts spinning and the tower drifts upwards. Let your students have a lot of fun!
This easy and fun project lets you convert sea/salt water into drinking water. The heat from the sun gets amplified in this project. It then leads to condensation where the bacteria and salt from the water starts to go away. Eventually, it gets to the level of evaporation, which makes all of the salt and bacteria go away. Finally, the sea water becomes drinkable water and your students created drinkable water for themselves.
Insert the stem of the funnel instead of the short end of the straw, then push the straw funnel upwards into the side of the container. Connect the other end of the straw to another container so the drinkable water can flow into that. Cover the openings of the container with plastic wrap but leave the funnel open. Make sure there are no holes in either container. Put the saltwater into the container that has the funnel. Then, place it outside in the sun and watch as the heat leads to drinkable water.
Do you want more resources on the topic of solar power activities? NSTEM’s vast resources database provides thousands of STEM resources that are searchable by category, school level and state. This comprehensive library includes info on enrichment activities, curricula, internships, scholarships and more. Check out a free sampling here. Or get an NSTEM membership today to unlock the complete list.
K-2 is where it all starts with STEM education. The National STEM Honor Society focuses on “From K to Career, NSTEM from the Start!” To start your K-2 Chapter of the National STEM Honor Society, click here.